Arc Welding Health Effects, Fume Formation Mechanisms, and Characterization Methods [chapter]

Matthew Gonser, Theodore Hog
2011 Arc Welding  
Welding fume health effects, fume formation, and characterization are reviewed. The applicability of several collection and characterization methods is discussed. Detailed work on Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) consumables is presented along with current trends in welding fume particle characterization. Health effects of welding fume exposure Worker exposure to welding fume is most often associated with acute and chronic lung damage, but there are a number of other health concerns. While
more » ... to specific gases and metals are associated with certain disease outcomes (such as hexavalent chrome and lung cancer), health effects have also been well documented for total welding fume exposure. Routes of exposure Workers can be exposed by inhaling, ingesting, and coming into skin contact with the fume. All three can be important contributors to disease outcome. Inhalation is the primary, but not only, route of exposure. Welding worker exposures are usually measured in the breathing zone. To evaluate actual exposure, the filter or other sampling media should be placed under the welding helmet (sample adapters are available). As the worker lifts up and puts down the helmet, the device collects a more representative sample. Particle size affects respirability, but virtually all welding fume is in the respirable range. However, it's important to note that the mass collected in typical exposure measurements is not all metal fume. A study found that worker welding fume exposure was 25-55% of the mass collected was metal fume, with the balance of the metal mass collected was due grinding and spattering (Linden & Surakka, 2009) . Workers can also be exposed to welding-related metals through ingestion and skin contact. This needs to be taken into account when evaluating worker exposure as welders eating with dirty hands or eating or drinking contaminated food/liquids can ingest a significant dose. This route is important because lung cancer has been associated with human consumption of drinking water containing high levels of arsenic and chromium. Additionally, a number of metals (including beryllium, chromium and cobalt), can directly affect the skin (irritation and allergic impacts) or be absorbed through the skin and cause
doi:10.5772/29131 fatcat:oaeegxhv2ndwjk5mcr3ypllvbu